What’s not to love about hardwood floors? They’re durable, beautiful, and add value to your home.
But a drawback of having wood floors that you might not realize is that they are prone to mold.
Wood absorbs moisture and holds onto it, which leads to swelling and warping. Moisture is also one of the key ingredients for mold. Where does this water come from, though?
- Slow leaks under the floor
- Sudden flooding (like from a burst pipe)
- Excess humidity in the air
Water can remain inside the wood of your floors, or it can settle underneath, between the wood and the subflooring, where it cannot evaporate or be removed manually. Mold prefers to be in a moderate to warm climate in a dark area. The minuscule cracks in hardwood provide the perfect environment.
Mold also feeds on organic (once-living) materials including dust, pet dander, and wood. Over time, mold can weaken your wood floors and stain them beyond repair. Organic materials provide food to mold, so a colony can spread quickly. Surfaces like wood are also hard to clean and sanitize, so you may never fully get rid of mold without replacing your wood floors.
Signs of Mold under Your Wood Floors
Mold can live undetected in a home for years if it is in a hidden location. Under the floors is a prime example.
You may never see the mold, but you will surely see the effects of it. Here are a few things that often point to mold underneath wood floors:
Unexplained sickness in your home
If someone in your home experiences allergy-like symptoms or respiratory issues and there is no other logical cause, they could be reacting to unseen mold under your wood floors.
Mold gives off an unmistakable smell. Some people describe it as “earthy,” but most agree that it smells musty, like a home that has been closed up for an extended period. (Hint: Mold is probably the reason those homes smell musty, too.)
Streaks on the walls or ceiling often indicate a past or present water leak. You need to be very concerned about water damage, because these areas are the most common places for mold to start.
Looking under the floorboards
To be completely sure, you can pull up a floor board near the edge of the room and take a peak underneath. This can give you peace of mind about whether or not there is mold under the rest of your wood floors.
How to Remove Mold from Wood Flooring
Prevention is the best course of action when you’re talking about mold. Our best tips for mold prevention include the following:
- Keep humidity low
- Clean up spills ASAP
- Check for leaks often (or have a plumber do it for you)
- Clean the floors to remove mold’s food source
- Repair the floor if it is damaged
- Promote good ventilation in your home with fans and by opening windows occasionally
Mold is easy to clean from some surfaces like the shower or tub, but it is much harder to remove from wood. The matter is even more complicated when mold is growing underneath wood flooring. In this case, the removal is best left to a professional.
- Determine the extent of the mold infestation – A little mold can easily be removed by the average homeowner if it is in the bathroom or garage, but checking underneath the flooring is extremely demanding, even for an experienced do-it-yourselfer.
- Finding and fixing the source of the water – Excess water is a major catalyst for mold growth. Whether it is the result of flooding, a spill, or a slow, hidden leak, you have to first take care of the water source so you won’t continue to have the same water/mold issue.
- Remove the mold and remediate mold levels – The process is complicated enough when mold is in an easy-to-reach area. But when parts of your home have to be disassembled in order to reach the mold colony, it adds a completely new level of complexity to the project.
Experts recommend professional mold removal for mold growth that is larger than 10 square feet. This includes Level 4, which is when mold grows to larger than 100 square feet, and Level 5, when mold gets into the HVAC system.
DIY mold removal is risky because as you scrub mold off the walls or wood floors, it will release spores into the air. This leads to even more mold growth in other parts of your home.
Pure Air Solutions Mold Remediation
The difference between DIY and professional mold removal is the safety and prevention aspect. Mold experts come prepared with equipment that can prevent the spread of mold throughout your home.
They also wear personal safety gear to protect themselves from mold exposure as well. This is a step that most inexperienced homeowners will skip.
Removing mold underneath wood floors involves removing the floor boards themselves and then replacing them expertly. As you might guess, this is no job for a novice handyman!
Besides, who has the time, energy and tools to do a job of this magnitude? Just call Pure Air Solutions and save yourself the trouble. Another benefit is that you’ll know the job was done right!